For the summer 2011 session, Dana Mitra, a professor in the Penn State College of Education, used VoiceThread in her “Education and Public Policy 420” course. This was a 10-week offering that was offered as an online course with an enrollment of 15 students.
How She Used It
- Took her existing PowerPoint slides and divided them into smaller chunks of information
- Then she uploaded them into individual slides in a VoiceThread
- Next, using the comment feature, she recorded her lecture on a slide-by-slide basis. These made up her recorded lecture.
- Within each small VoiceThread lecture, she inserted question slides and required students to respond to prompted questions in the presentation via the comment feature in VoiceThread.
- Using a small rubric, she then assessed her students’ responses to these questions as part of a participation grade.
- She noticed as students provided responses to the questions in VoiceThread, she could see how they were “sharing and jigsawing” content together as a class. Students were able to build from classmates’ responses to formulate their own.
- Was a bit surprised at how some students “really got it” from her lecture material, even though it was all online.
- There were a few students still did not participate in the lectures per her design, even though she communicated it was part of the requirement for their grading. She was not sure if it was because of problems using VoiceThread or a more general lack of engagement but she did note that she would like to be more proactive with students to enforce participation.
- Can Leverage Already Existing Lectures. While the effort to develop each of her lectures in VoiceThread was an “enormous time investment”, she sees a great opportunity to reuse them for future classes. She estimates that 95% of the lecture material she created this summer would not need to change in future deliveries of the course. And for the content she would plan on changing, the ability to edit by slide makes the content update process seem easy.
- Flipped Classroom? She even discussed piloting in a resident course in which she would pick one or two modules in the semester where students would consume the lecture(s) before coming to class. She would design in-class activities that would follow up the VoiceThread lectures, a design concept that is currently called “flipping the classroom”.
- More Student Responses via Text. Dana feels that she will probably have students provide comments via text more in future deliveries of these VoiceThreads. The main reason was that, during assessment, it was more time consuming to listen to responses than it was for her to read them.